Four Days in Florence
This is Part 2 in our three-part series about a trip to Italy. Go here for our first three days in Rome. We left off with a two-hour afternoon train ride from Rome to Florence that arrived in the early evening--just in time for our new Italian pastimes: walking and wine!
Day 1 in Florence was really more of a half-day. First, we settled into our new Airbnb and received tips from our friendly Italian host. Our place was about a 10-minute walk from the Duomo and was a two-story loft with an outdoor patio. We spent the evening exploring around the Duomo area and grabbing dinner. The steak and artichokes I ordered was actually one of my favorite meals of the trip--did you know Italy is known for its artichokes?? Amazing.
We began the morning with breakfast at the Marketo Centrale, which was very fun to walk around with so many different types of pasta, foods, drinks, and touristy stuff (this was the beginning of my search for a Florentine leather purse). This second morning is normally when I'd recommend that you go to the Duomo but Collin and I failed on this one--there was a huge line and we didn't reserve tickets to get in. Then when we attempted touring another church nearby, we got kicked out because I was wearing shorts--very scandalous in some Italian churches. I never thought I'd be kicked out of a church for impropriety but it is what it is!
It turned out we had surprise entertainment that morning (and later in our stay) instead--Ryan Reynolds was filming his new Netflix movie and we got to watch them filming a car chase in several locations around the city. Pretty cool.
Thankfully, we did have the foresight to reserve midday tickets at the Galleria Dell’Accademia, where the famous David statue is located. All being band nerds, we also loved the musical instrument section of the museum with the first(?!) piano.
While Collin and I ate a late pizza lunch, our friends Tom and Julie explored the Ponte Vecchio, Florence's most famous bridge. It's been around since the 1300s and has been a jewelry district since the 1500s (why is the U.S. so lame??). Tom and Julie picked out an engagement ring from one of the jewelers and we celebrated with a wine and bruschetta afterwards at Golden View Firenze.
In the afternoon, we hiked up to Piazza Michelangelo, which has an absolutely beautiful view of Florence. We took a break in the piazza for some wine and then hiked even higher to the San Miniato al Monte church there, which had an even better view.
That evening, we headed back into the city for another evening of dinner and drinks outside--one of my favorite parts about Italian living.
Collin and I spent our morning at the Uffizi art gallery. We didn't have tickets in advance but miraculously were able to walk in and buy them with no line. We saw art by Michelangelo, da Vinci, and so many other famous artists.
For lunch, we got a panini at what's reported to be the best panini shop in Florence, All'antico Vinaio. After picking up our order, we brought lunch to the Piazza della Signoria and ate and people-watched.
In the afternoon, we went to a pizza and gelato cooking class through Viator. We had a great time and ate so much. By the end of the day we were full and exhausted, so spent the night at the Airbnb watching Netflix and hanging out.
Our final day in Florence was really spent outside the city in the Tuscan wine country. We signed up for the Chianti Tradition Tour from Grape Tours. We met at their office in Florence and had a guide who drove us to three different wineries across the span of seven hours. Every vineyard was more beautiful than the next, and we loved the wine and the meals they served. The best part though was when our friends Tom and Julie got engaged!
When our tour bus brought us back, we had great memories and new friends. Somehow we were able to stomach more wine, followed by a dinner where Collin finally got his coveted traditional Florentine steak at Ristorante la Grotta Guelfa. It was a great way to end our stay in our Florence.